Food Quackery

Published on September 5th, 2014 | by Rayne

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5 posts in 5 days: The Religion of Food Babe

I’ve been thinking about this over the last while ever since discovering Food Babe and her followers.

How on earth has she managed to create an entire movement based on Appeals to Nature and fear and have it be successful?

Then it dawned on me. Her followers either don’t understand. End sentence.

Anyone with a basic understanding of science and healthy dose of skepticism, who has spent a short amount of time exposed to the Food Babe will notice that her followers lap up everything she writes. She has successfully raised herself to a position of authority with no training in science whatsoever.

Food Babes runs off a very simple formula:

1. Use alarmist Appeals to Nature to scare people into thinking your food of choice is toxic.
2. Create an environment of distrust and fear against “big corporations” and promote the idea they are only concerned with making a profit.
3. Remind your followers you are only trying to help by doing research for them.
4. Create an environment of distrust and fear against doctors.
5. Make fear promoting claims with scientific sounding evidence so your scientifically illiterate followers don’t feel the need to conduct further research.
6. When your followers are scared and confused about what to eat – remind them again you are here to help and they can follow your guide to healthy living for a small fee per month.

CONGRATULATIONS! You have now transformed yourself into a food warrior!

The audience of the Food Babe consists of people who just want to do right by themselves and their children. They want to keep themselves and their children safe. There is nothing wrong with that. Science can be daunting and very confusing and not everyone has been trained to critically think. With a person like Food Babe with her professional looking videos and info graphics and sense of caring about her – why would people want to critically think? Science is hard and Food Babe has all the answers. She is the picture of the man-made dream. A self-made woman. She’s a lone women, who rose up against the big bad corporations to battle for our health and our livelihoods. She’s a martyr for the little guy.

Except she’s not. She’s a not a martyr, she may think she is. But she’s no different to every other pseudoscientists scaring people by appropriating and warping science to promote fear so she can sell her stuff. Fear sells. Education is hard. She may not be doing it maliciously. She may honestly think she is helping people, which is noble but warping facts and science – that is dangerous. Turning people away from medicine with Appeals to Nature and scaring people away from doctors – that is dangerous.

And that’s why I labelled Food Babe a religion. Religions have been created to control the masses and tell people how to think. Except instead of preying on vulnerable depressed people who need guidance, the Food Babe reels in scientifically illiterate people who  have the best intentions of themselves and their family at heart but don’t know where to turn. They are confused and lack critical thinking skills and just want a little guidance to help them. Food Babe has successfully created a cult following of people who dare not question her perceived authority and who will defend her because they feel she is the hero they deserves. A silent guardian. A watchful protector. A Dark Knight.

The Batman of the health industry.

Not really.

Update: The Adage has done a similar article.
This Week In Pseudoscience has an article that discusses “Othorexia”, which has the nickname “Food Babe disorder”.
The Philosophy Warrior has a great article on the dangers of eating clean.
Neurologica examines Food Babes lack of understanding around Chemistry and science.
Jon Stewart and the Food Babe: Toxins in your tea.

Update: The Adage has done a similar article.
This Week In Pseudoscience has an article that discusses “Othorexia”, which has the nickname “Food Babe disorder”.
The Philosophy Warrior has a great article on the dangers of eating clean.
Neurologica examines Food Babes lack of understanding around Chemistry and science.
Jon Stewart and the Food Babe: Toxins in your tea.
Science Based Medicine has called the Food Babe the “Jenny McCarthy of Food“.
Mark Crislip debunks the Food Babe scam.
Steven Novella takes on microwaves and nutrition from the Food Babe.
IanChadwick: Food Babe and other nonsense.
Food Friday: Investigating ‘Food Babe’ over at eekology.
What’s In YOUR Beer? Or, The Dangers of Dumbassery by Maureen Ogle.
Quackmail: Why You Shouldn’t Fall For The Internet’s Newest Fool, The Food Babe in Forbes.
The Curious Wavefuntion: The Problem with Food Babe.
Reddit.com: Food Babe – Stop Using Logical Fallacies.
10 Things I Wish Food Babe Knew.
Food Babe, my pumpkin latte tastes like shit.
Is the Food Babe a Fraud?

Other posts in my 5 posts in 5 days series:
The Food Babe vs Pumpkin Spiced Lattes
The Doctrine of Signatures
Things you need to understand about science before talking about it
Chlorophyll and sunlight in your digestive system

If you like some of the things I say – feel free to add me to your RSS feed, comment or email me: rayne@insufferableintolerance.com. I now have a Facebook page! Feel free to like my page by clicking here

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9 Responses to 5 posts in 5 days: The Religion of Food Babe

  1. Daisey says:

    You have summed this up perfectly. I started reading Food Babe posts thinking I might learn how to make better nutrition choices for my family. I’m a doctoral level scientist, so naturaly I wanted to read the studies on which she was basing her information. It didn’t take very long to become more than a little skeptical. It appears from the Facebook comments that members of the “army” are not interested in a civil discussion if it questions the validity of any of Food Babe’s claims.

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